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Posted by eric_r_wirsing AKP STAFF Friday, June 16, 2017

[MV & Album Review] T-ara - 'What's My Name?'



Track List:

1. What's my name? *Title
2. Reload
3. 20090729
4. Diamond (QRI SOLO)
5. Ooh La La (HYOMIN SOLO)
6. Real Love (EUNJUNG SOLO)
7. Lullaby (JIYEON SOLO)
8. What's my name? (Chinese Ver.)
9. What's my name? (Inst.)

The latest in a seemingly infinite parade of disbanding's, T-ara has released their 13th and final album. This time they're promoting as a foursome, as Boram and Soyeon have already left the band. Without further ado, let's dig into 'What's My Name?'

The title track "What's My Name?" is reminiscent of their earlier works, as it has some cute, fun things going on in the melody. It's still firmly rooted in 2017, a tropical house track with some sweeping overtones. It's not quite as exciting a track as I'd like, but it's still a fun banger. Oddly, there was some Hello Venus I almost heard in here as well. The girls prove they still have what it takes, even minus two members.

"Reload" has some of that 80s throwback fun to the melody, and there are some flirty parts as well. It's sort of a loud track, with some faux horns and big beats. I love the vocals here even more than in the title track. T-ara has some serious talent sometimes hidden in a simpler pop song. And this time, they seriously crank things up to 11.

"20090729" is their debut date, and meant as a goodbye tune. It manages to avoid the things that I despise about some ballads. It's not billowy, pretentious, or anything other than what it is. One of the things I like about it was that the music is a gift from DIA to their sunbaes. The members of T-ara put their own stories into the lyrics, and it's definitely a gift for the fans. It's tender and heartfelt and remains so throughout the tune. It is a delightful and appropriate farewell.

The first solo tune, "Diamond," is Qri's solo. The tune itself almost has some kind of desert groove in the beginning, though distorted and autotuned up and down. Qri has always had pretty unique vocals, with somewhat of the lower register. The music in "Diamond" is an awesome fit to that, as voice and melody meld. It's a mid-tempo affair, with interesting effects that help the tune along. 

Hyomin is no stranger to the solo scene, having released two successful solo albums already. This song, "Ooh La La" is more in the experimental format she seems to rock nowadays, and it suits her well. Particularly this tune, which lets her use those nicely tuned pipes of hers. Overdubs and soaring vocals really make this song pop. And there's an energy and a power here that just can't be denied.

Eunjung's solo song is in a more traditional format than Qri's or Hyomin's. The vocals are no less awesome, either, and she kind of surprised me here. I wasn't enamored with her first solo effort, and this tune does a lot more for me. It's got some R&B grooves running through it, and combined with a nice, singable chorus. She does some nice things with her voice that I hadn't anticipated. I guess you can say I have a "Real Love" for this track.

"Lullaby" is a soft tune and Jiyeon's solo. I've always been a fan of Jiyeon's whispery vocals, and we get some of those here. I think the tempo is too fast for it to be a proper good night track, but that doesn't stop it from being a good song overall. Particularly during the chorus, where the real payoff to this song is, and she shows off her range there too. Her honeyed vocals really make the song quite sweet.

I liked some of the EDM influences here, as there are things you can do with a synth that you can't do with more traditional instruments, and they did it well here. I listen to music to hear new sounds, not some retread or reinterpretation of bygone days. This is a nice teaser to the girls' future solo careers and a pretty high-quality album overall. But we must bid goodbye to T-ara, gone but not forgotten. This disc is a fitting swan song to a successful career. And the answer to the question "What's My Name?" is T-ara.


The girls start out in a classroom, and end up in a park, with fountain, tram, and just beautifully shot nature scenes. There's a guy, but we barely see a hair of him, other than a time when they were presumably happy, and times after they said goodbye.

Despite the fact that this is a somber time, its arrayed against the striking scenes in the MV. There's the sun shot through trees, a fountain against a cloudless sky, a fun-looking wood-paneled tram, and sun dresses. Everything here, including the girls, is simply gorgeous.  

It's definitely a drama MV. There aren't a dozen costume changes, no dancing, and the somber looks on their faces tell you that they're not happy. While this is a reaction to the lover who used to be a great guy (like the song tells us), I can't help thinking there's something more than just that.

About two minutes in, there are reminders that they're missing two members. Six pencils are arranged together, two are upside down; but a second later, there are only four in a square. And in the classroom they started in, there are four desks ready to use -- two more have their chairs resting upside down on top.

Is it a good MV? Yeah, and I think there were some nods to the fact that it is the end, and that two members have already gone. I have to thank them for that. There's a sense of closure here, as well as the fact that we'll miss them. But I think some of the brightness of the scenes lets us know that there is a ray of hope somewhere.


MV Relevance...........9
MV Production..........9
MV Concept..............9

Album Production.....9
Album Concept.........9


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